Sacrificing freedom for points inside Negan’s Sanctuary

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

In The Walking Dead world survival means being willing to give up something for the security of a community. But are Negan’s followers sacrificing their free will for points?

In “Sing Me A Song” fans finally get an in -depth look at the creepy world inside Sanctuary. Negan is apparently more than a dictator, he’s a cult leader. And like any cult leader he rewards his favorites. Those who fall out of favor end up living a life that isn’t so great. Just ask Mark.

Most of the other communities that have evolved in the post-apocalypse world run according to a simple but fair formula.

People do the work they are best suited to do. Everyone works, and everyone shares in the products of that work. By pulling together all the work gets done. Things may not be divided totally equally, but everyone gets what they need.

That’s not how things work at Sanctuary. Negan is the ultimate authority on everything that happens at Sanctuary. He decides who does what jobs. He also decides who gets what based on who has pleased or displeased him.

Social Status in Sanctuary

In Negan’s Sanctuary those will special skills get special privileges and live a better life than others. The foot soldiers who go out on patrol or go on runs to collect payments from other communities live well. They don’t have to contribute to the day to day running of Sanctuary.

People with other skills, like Dr. Carson, get special treatment also. If a person has a unique skill or training in something that directly benefits Negan they get perks. Negan’s wives also get special privileges and perks.  Anyone that has other skills that benefit the community gets privileges too.

Those who don’t fight or have a special skill like Dr. Carson do the grunt work at Sanctuary. It would take a massive amount of work to keep a community as large as Sanctuary running.

Food needs to be organized and stored. Meals for the whole community need to be cooked. Animals need to be cared for. Laundry must be done. All the items taken from the other communities must be unpacked and divided. Dwellings need to be built and maintained. The list of daily chores is massive.

People who are working for points are the ones doing those daily tasks.  Each task earns them points. They use those points to pay for things like food and medicine. Sounds fair, right? But really it isn’t.

Taking Risks Instead of Earning Points

The amount of points that each task awards is decided arbitrarily by Negan. Working hard won’t necessarily meant that you will get ahead. He can change the points value at any time. And people who have medical conditions that require medication, like Tina, are never going to be able to get enough points to pay for what they need.

At one point in “Sing Me A Song” Negan proclaims that everyone gets vegetables at dinner that night for free. That implies that usually they need to use points to eat. It doesn’t sound like working for points is a very good way to live. In fact, it sounds like a system guaranteed to keep people subservient to him.

It’s not hard to imagine that some people would take any way they could out of the points system. Being one of Negan’s foot soldiers is dangerous, but it’s better than working for points.  Becoming one of Negan’s wives may be repugnant to some women. But would be a good option for someone who had a medical condition or couldn’t perform a lot of physical labor.

More from Undead Walking

Revolution May Be Coming

The people who live at Sanctuary may think that living in such a rigged social hierarchy is the only way they can be safe. In The Walking Dead world having walls, defenses and food is considered having it good. But realistically staying at Sanctuary forces them to live a pretty dismal existence.

Sooner or later the people working for points are going to realize the deck is stacked against them. When that happens Negan may find that Lucille isn’t enough to keep people in line anymore.